Northern BC has great riding, but sometimes you have to head south to ride dry, dusty trails and experience the wide-open “big sky country” vistas. Last weekend I spent three days exploring the Cariboo-Chilcotin’s trails and back country and I wasn’t disappointed. My riding began in 108 Mile House and ended near Junction Sheep Provincial Park on the Chilcotin Plateau. Check out my ride!
108 Mile House Trail Network
This ominous looking tunnel is the entrance way to a huge network of single/double track, ATV and road-width trails at the 108 Mile House historic site, on the east side of Hwy. 97. The trail heads east towards Sucker Lake through rolling grassy meadows, with patches of aspen and Douglas fir. There are some short uphill sections on the east side of the lake and plenty of grassy range land to explore.
Typical single-track and x-country ski trails.
Chasm Provincial Park
If you had shown me this picture two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have believed that it was in BC! Chasm Provincial Park, south of 100 Mile House, is a 3000 hectare valley and plateau that was carved out of a massive lava flow, by water,10 million years ago. Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir cover the rocky crags that are home to big horn sheep and mule deer.
An ATV width-trail runs along the south rim of the park then loops around through grassy Douglas fir and ponderosa pine stands. You get a great view of the canyon for almost 5 kms of trail. If you are brave enough to walk to the edge you can see where the sheep walked up the cliff onto the rim. The sheep come to feed on the pinegrass that grows beneath the trees.
A partial skull and vertebrae of a Bighorn sheep.
Lots of interesting old buildings and equipment litter the Cariboo landscape.
The Bonaparte River lies to the north of Chasm and has a fantastic rec site where I spent the night. The beer and spicy-peanut sauce on rice noodles was fantastic.
Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park Area
This park overlooks the junction of the Fraser and Chilcotin river and is only a 35 minute drive from Williams Lake. Bordered by a working cattle ranch, this plateau gently slopes to the south and is covered by lush grasslands and stands of Douglas fir and aspen.
The viewscapes are stunning and non-stop. Looking east.
Heart-leaved arnica grows in grassy meadows underneath the fir trees.
Allow yourself a full day to ride this area. Also note that the land adjacent to the access road is private and no-go. Riders are not the only users: there was a group pf backcountry horse packers there as well. Interesting comparison between hoof impacts and fat tires….